Dear Google, why so evil?

Dear Google, why so evil?

Around 8 months ago, Google officially removed support for Exchange and ActiveSync which is used by almost all Microsoft enabled devices to sync with services like Calendar, Contacts and Email. Microsoft was given a good 6 months before the support ended to shift to the new protocols (CalDAV and CardDAV) for its calendar and contact services and IMAP for Email. Microsoft complied and pushed support for new protocols in further updates.

Clean, right? Well, no so much.

I use a Windows Phone, and use 2 Gmail accounts with it. I prefer to maintain a zero-inbox policy, which prompts me to either delete or archive an email as soon as I am done with it. A few months back when Gmail switched to the new tabbed UI a lot of spam started crawling into my inbox. These mails conveniently hide behind the tabs on Gmail’s browser interface. But I do see an awful bunch of those when using the phone. I didn’t have so much of a problem deleting them from my phone, until I noticed that it hardly worked.

After the switch of protocols, emails deleted from the phone do not sync with Gmail by default due to IMAP. They only get deleted from the phone.

I looked up and found a dozen other people ranting about Windows Phone not being able to sync Gmail deletes, and how inconvenient the phone would be for people who primarily use Gmail. There is a way to correct this with little effort. A sync setting to sync deleted emails from a mobile device to trash. But apparently Google didn’t want it to be so easy for Windows Phone.

Visiting http://m.google.com/sync on a mobile device opens options to sync Google Calendar, Contacts and Gmail on a mobile device. This URL does not work on the Windows Phone. Trying to do so takes you to the desktop version of the site which does not have any access to the settings. The only option Windows Phone users are left with is so use another mobile device (iOS, Android) to open the URL, login to the Google account and change the settings. Ridiculous!

This isn’t much of a problem for the initiated and enlightened who tweak the user-agent on a desktop browser to view the mobile site and apply settings. But the general audience who does not have access to iOS or Android is left clueless.

What compelled the angel of the Internet plant such a well crafted bottleneck for no apparent reason? One might say IE the default browser on Windows Phone is to blame. But is a browser specifically requesting a mobile site so difficult to identify?